I would be traveling to Sumatra and will be flying into Medan. I would want to visit Pulau Weh, off Banda Aceh and wonder how I can get from Medan to Banda Aceh without flying. Is there an overnight bus? How long is the ride if there is?
You can take about 12 hours bus from Medan to Banda Aceh, road is quite good in Indonesian standard. Major bus companies like PMTOH, Pelangi, Kurnia and Pusaka serves this route and their offices can be found at Jalan Gajah Mada in Medan. Prices range from 110,000 Rp to 200,000 Rp.
Night buses depart 7PM or 9PM, these are Patas Bus and the ticket is cost around 130 000 Rp and you will reach Banda Aceh in the morning around 7am/8am. Else there are 2 hourly bus throughout the day between 7am to 6pm price at around 100 000 Rp.
Though many travelers agree that sometimes it is worth to buy a flight from Medan to Banda Aceh to save time and the price difference is not that much.